|It saddens me to think that
part of the fallout of our Church's teaching crisis might be to
weaken people's faith. This seemed to be one of the primary concerns
of Paul VI and the minority theologians: |
"If the Church
could err (on this issue), the authority of the ordinary magisterium
in moral matters would be thrown into question. The faithful could
not put their trust in the magisterium's presentation of moral
teaching, especially in sexual matters. For if this doctrine is not
substantially true, the magisterium itself will seem to be empty and
useless in any moral matter."
Richard McBrien: "The
assumption here seems to be that if the Church, or any comparable
moral agency, can be found to be in error on this important matter,
its judgment on ALL matters is automatically suspect."
this crisis in moral teaching ever been a source of doubt for you as
regarding the central Mysteries of the faith even? It need not!
Megan Hartman: "Humanae Vitae becomes the point at which
many Catholics begin to decide to go their own way on issues of
reproductive morality and yet remain Catholic in their minds and
hearts. Andrew Greeley writes that one of the most important results
of the encyclical turned out to be that “the laity and the junior
clergy did not listen and the Vatican’s credibility as a teacher of
sexual ethics was badly weakened.”
The majority theologians
wrote: "Such a change is to be seen rather as a step toward a more
mature comprehension of the whole doctrine of the Church. For doubt
and reconsideration are quite reasonable when proper reasons for
doubt and reconsideration occur with regard to some specific
question. This is part and parcel of the accepted teaching of
There perhaps exist newer and
seemingly more compelling reasons for scandal in the Church today.
If there are lessons we learned from the fallout of Humanae Vitae,
then let no one take an all or nothing approach in their assessment
of our pilgrim Church's reliability, trustworthiness, credibility
and authoritativeness, given our sundry all too human failings. That
She has survived and thrived down through the ages, despite all of
our individual sinfulness, foibles and mistakes, however comprised
of so very imperfect human beings, is perhaps the SUREST sign of the
Holy Spirit's abiding influence!